My earlier memories of cars are sitting in lap of my mother and going in an Ambassador car to Haridwar loaded with relatives( chachi, buaa, phua and lots of cousins) who had come down for vacation in summer holidays. Then came, Maruti car. In DehraDoon we started seeing a few Maruti’s but when I visited Chandigarh in early 90’s, I saw red and white Maruti cars everywhere. Infact parking lot of Sector 17 market was full of these little beauties. Compared to (manly) Ambassdor, Maruti seemed so delicate, so cute just like Aarti (my father’s friend , Mr Malhotra, whom we were visiting). And I fell in love with car though my sister teased me that I had fallen for Aarti. I tried explaining her that In Doon we had few Maruti cars and I just couldn’t take my eyes off (the car I meant though I kept to glancing at Aarti when I thought no one was looking) , ,often found Aarti smiling back at me. I pestered my father to buy one Maruti for us. He told me that saving for my engineering college and for my sisters wedding were his top priority.
We finally got a second hand Maruti few years later when my father retired. By that time I was studying in an engineering college. My father really took care of the car. He would clean it everyday, talking to her about all things in the world. A scratch on the car meant..tough day for mother for my father would be in bad mood for days. My mother joked, “Car tu meri souten hai ji, itni phikar tu aapne meri bhi nahin kii“. Asking Papa for car to drive was a BIG task. Had to fulfill hazaar demands(get A grades in the college that semester, in holidays get the grocery and vegetables, take them to relatives house) make Hazaar promises(will drive slowly, very carefully, will not overload it, will not take to Mussorie). This much work Obama would also not have done to get the debt cieling raised :-). I used to think, “Papa itna rob jama rahe hain car ka. Just let me start my job, then I will get my own car!”
While studying in engineering college I kept on dreaming about my love- my first car. I searched on the Internet, read magazines, newspapers. Problem thi “Ek Anaar aur sau bimaar” The choices were galore and confusing. Petrol or Disel, Desi or Vilayti (Maruti, Hyduani, Cheverlot, Fiat). Made a note book with all the cuttings which my sister said could have got me a Ph.d Had I studied that much for my board/college exams I would have surely topped. Wait let me show a glimpse : A table from the 1001th one page of my notebook telling difference
between Diesel and Petrol car! When I got the job I felt soon I would get the love of my life -my car -but like the hindi movie love story my love life also had a twist, a villan- my father.
It was the day when I had got my first salary. We(my mother,sister) had just come back after buying saree for my mother, salwar kurta for my sister, a Titan watch for my father. I was telling them “Tomorrow I am going to buy a new car. I am going to make down-payment tomorrow” Walks in my father. “How are you going to pay for the car? I hope you are not asking me to pay for it.?” I replied “EMI bhi tu koi cheeze hai, make a down payment, get a loan and get your, baby at home”. “Oh so you also are bitten by the EMI bug. Today you will take loan for car, tomorrow for vacation. Only loan worth taking is home loan and that to less than 40% of your salary.” My mother and sister realised that things were hotting up, she said “Our son has grown up, he is an engineer working in a top software firm. He would know and then everybody is buying things on EMI. Mrs Sharma son recently bought his car – Toyoya Innova- on loan too”. My father replied, “That’s the problem. We try to follow our neighbors. Just because everyone is doing it does not mean it is good. And sadly our education system focuses on academics and professional courses. We do not allow people to get in the driver’s seat of a car without going through driving license test , and yet we allow our children to enter the complex financial world without any financial education”. Think and answer”, mera khadoos baap bola, “Rs 100 a day or Rs 1 on first day doubling the next day, I mean Rs 2 on second day, Rs 4 on third“. I was angry, very angry. Could emptahise with Salim when Badshaah Akbar refused him to meet Anarkali. Had it not been that my father had just recovered from a heart attack (and I couldn’t ignore my mother’s pleading looks to agree with him as to not to give him another one ) I would have followed Salim and waged a war against my own father(Jab pyaar kiya to darna kya). My father insisted on not taking a Loan for the car.
Those days of waiting were more hard than waiting for girlfriend in Coffee day or waiting for my first salary. I used to look at my friends riding their bikes and cars and with a heavy sigh sing “Char dinoon da pyaar ho rabba..lambi judai..lambi judai” or get rebellious and sing “Mein papa se bola tu galti hai meri..bhag bhag KD bhag bhag KD bhag” To find the answer to my father’s question and to kill the waiting time, I started reading about personal finance and was introduced to what Einstein called “8th wonder of the world- compounding”. When I discovered the answer,I was amazed , realised that “Papa ne baal dhoop mein safed nahin kiye hain”. I started investing money in PPF/mutual funds/FMPs and waited.
To know more about compound interest, banks Click here , to play the game Click here
Finally the D-Day came. Today I was going to get my car. My research of college days had convinced me to buy a diesel car and when Fiat came up with Diesel car at the cost of petrol the choice seemed simple. It also gave me FREEDOM FROM FUEL HIKES. I had redeemed my mutual funds which had given me a return of 12% annualised return and had bought my car with HARD CASH (technically a cheque) to the salesman. The salesman was shocked, he was trying to tell me which company would give me good interest rate. He literally fell out of the seat, “Buying car on full payment is rare these days that too from young people”, his manager explained. I was so excited, I couldn’t sleep the entire night, couldn’t eat my breakfast, kept on looking at the watch “When will it be ten o’clock. My mother was saying something, which I couldn’t concentrate on, till she screamed and said “Enough is enough. After taking the car, take her to hanuman temple and offer prasad” Car in that crowded place..NO!!These parents na..they know how to puncture our excitement! My father then received a call and came his request or was it a demand. I had to pick his friend, Mr Malhotra,daughter, from the railway station at 1:00pm. She was coming to Delhi for a conference and would stay with us for few days. First day my car to temple was not enough that I had to take her to a railway station..ugh Which side was the God on!.
As an obedient son I picked my car, took it to Hanuman temple and then picked Mr Malhotra’s daughter. She was Aarti, the same Aarti, whom I had met in Chandigarh. She was much more beautiful now and my heart went dhak dhak. She was working as a software engineer now. During her stay at our house, my mother decided the she will be perfect bahu for our family, and you know how obedient son I am. And like hindi films we got happily married with all band, bajja baraat. (minus the wedding planners-) and went to Leh/Ladakh in my car…our car..no no my car..and when Aarti said “I understand. I realised what I jackpot I had hit..both with the car and my wife” and we lived happily everafter.
Note:This programme is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.
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